Friday, December 2, 2016

How Business is Organized in Utah and in the Uintah Basin

Utah has a diversified economy meaning employment is spread out across many industries. Some industries, like banking, tend to have many employees spread among many locations. Others, like hospitals, tend to cluster around a single location. “Mom and Pop” restaurants and law offices usually have one location and a small number of employees.The Department of Workforce Services has constructed an interactive data tool to flesh out these relationships. It uses data collected through Utah’s Unemployment Insurance system. This system produces a comprehensive tabulation of employment and wage information for workers covered by Utah Unemployment Insurance laws and Federal workers covered by the Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees program.

The program makes two key definitions important for this analysis:
  • A firm, or a company, is a business and may consist of one or more establishments, where each establishment may participate in different predominant economic activity. 
  • An establishment is an economic unit, such as a farm, mine, factory, or store that produces goods or provides services. It is typically at a single physical location address and engaged in one, or predominantly one type of economic activity for which a single industry classification may be applied. 
As an example, Wells Fargo is a firm. Its branch locations are establishments.

The visualization’s first tab makes an important generalization about where people work. A typical Utahn is employed at a large company and works at a location employing 20–250 people.

The second tab shows that larger locations generally pay more than smaller locations. The prominent exception, of course, is shown in the 1-4 employer category. Analyst speculate that the large average wage is due to tax reasons. Sometimes there is a financial advantage in a sole proprietor (which of course would report as one location only) claiming his/herself as an employee. Again, these sort of tax vehicles would benefit higher earning professionals.

Tab 3 shows the percentage of total wages and employment sorted by location size. As expected from the distribution of employment, the bulk of the state’s wages are paid by locations employing 20-250 people with a sizable contribution coming from locations employing more than 1000. However, locations employing more than 100 workers contribute five percent in wages more than their employment would suggest. Schools, universities, and hospitals would be included in this employment range and generally pay higher wages.

The fourth and last tab focuses on firms (companies) by time. Here the results are unambiguous; these firms employ the biggest share of workers. However, it is interesting to note that firms employing 10-49 employees rank third in terms of share. These firms are commonly thought of as small businesses.

Uintah Basin

Because of confidentiality problems, it is problematic to separate firm data by county. Data is suppressed to protect the identity, or identifiable information, of cooperating employers. Most of the suppressed data are provided by or are substantially attributable to an individual employer. In many cases, suppressions may also be necessary for otherwise disclosable data that may be used to derive sensitive information from another industry or area.
However it is widely understood that employment in the Uintah Basin is dominated by the oil and gas industry.

An examination of the Average Monthly Wages by Establishment Size tab (Tab 3) for Uintah County shows that larger establishments tend to pay more than smaller establishments. Furthermore, establishments employing more than 10 employees pay decidedly more than their statewide counterparts; those employing less than 5 employees pay decidedly less than their statewide peers. This generalization is also true in Duchesne County. It is worth emphasizing that that the inflection point in both counties is exactly the same. Analysts speculate that this is because of the relative lack of small professional businesses in rural areas such as accounting and law firms.

The Quarterly Employment and Wages by Establishment Size (Tab 3) shows employment and wage share by establishment size. As noted above, locations with employment greater than 100 make up 45 percent of total state employment but contribute 50 percent of all wages. In Uintah County, locations employing more than 100 workers total 24 percent of employment but contribute 30 percent of county wages. The analogous numbers for Duchesne County are 37 percent for employment and 43 percent of total wages. On the small side of the spectrum, locations with less than 10 employees make up 13 percent of statewide employment and contribute 12 percent of wages. In Uintah County, these locations make up 18 percent of the employment base but only contribute 14 percent of wages. In Duchesne County these firms comprise 20 percent of total employment but only contribute 15 percent of total wages. This again is due to the relative scarcity of small professional firms in the Uintah Basin such as accounting and law firms.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Utah's Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rates

Seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for all Utah counties have been posted online here.

Each month, these rates are posted the Monday following the Unemployment Rate Update for Utah.

For more information about seasonally adjusted rates, read a DWS analysis here.

Next update scheduled for December 19th.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Utah's Employment Situation for October 2016

Utah's Employment Situation for October 2016 has been released on the web.

Find the Current Economic Situation in its entirety here.

For charts and tables, including County Employment, go to the Employment and Unemployment page.

Next update scheduled for December 16th, 2016.


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Older Utahns in Uintah County



 

The Department of Workforce Services has just published an interactive graphic on older Utahns. Based on 2015 Census Bureau data, it allows researchers (and the simply curious) to “drill down” to the county level.

Roughly 15 percent of the state’s population is age 60 and older. Further, workers age 55 and older make up 17 percent of the labor force. As the population “greys”, the economic importance of older Utahns will naturally become of greater importance. The Deseret News recently reported that in 2015 there were 337 people in Utah over the age of 100. In 50 years, there will be nearly 7,000.

As an example of the information available and the potential for insights, this post will focus on Uintah County.

The visualization has six profile segmentations, each represented by a “tab” above the graphs that one can click on.

The first tab is a statewide overview of Utahns age 60 and older. From this the reader can generalize that about half of older Utahns still receive taxable income (either passive or active) and/or retirement income. Around 5 percent qualify for some form of public assistance. The typical older Utahn owns his or her home, is married, and speaks English. 

The second tab shows unemployment rates by county and age. Older (male) Uintah County residents experience lower unemployment than the state as a whole. Tab three shows that this rate is real rather than ephemeral; the labor force participation rates up to age 62 are significantly higher than statewide. After age 62, the comparison reverses; older Uintah County males are then less likely to participate in the labor force. This pattern seems to be consistent throughout eastern Utah. Analysts posit that a higher participation rate for workers under age 62 is out of necessity; private sector jobs that provide retirement plans are not as common in rural areas. The lower participation rates after age 62 could be a function of the availability of Social Security and the more physical nature of occupations in rural areas.

The fourth tab shows the older population sorted by poverty level, which is $11,670 for an individual.  Poverty affects the same proportion of Uintah County residents as it does Utah residents. However, the proportion of residents at the highest end of the scale (more than 400 percent of poverty or $46,680) is smaller in the county than statewide.

The fifth tab displays insurance coverage differentiated by educational attainment for older Utahns. Note that there is no display for persons without coverage; due to Medicare, that number is statistically zero for both Uintah County and the state as a whole for persons over age 65.  

It is somewhat surprising that so many Uintah County residents over age 65 are covered by private insurance. Given lower than statewide labor force participation, this is somewhat puzzling. Private insurance coverage also correlates with education. Better educated workers have better noncash benefits and would therefore prefer their private plan over the public options.

The sixth and final tab shows disability rates for older Utahns. Disability rates for Uintah County residents are generally the same as for older Utahns statewide. However, the rates for residents age 75 and over are lower for the county. For men, the difference is almost 10 percent. This difference could be a function of access to medical care; disabled residents might be moving to urban centers because of the availability of more specialized healthcare providers.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Show Me the Economy

Mark Knold, Supervising Economist 

“The government knows everything about everyone.”

 Fortunately, that statement is not true. Yet society still looks to the government to provide answers to comprehensive and complex questions that have their foundation within individual decisions and activities. One subject frequently directed toward the government is individual-level information about the economy — particularly, what occupations are in demand, what occupations pay well and have lucrative outlooks, and ultimately, what occupation(s) should I build my career upon?

It takes the accumulation of a wide array of individual information to answer these questions. Employers provide the foundation information about the occupations they employ. Jobs are held by individuals, but employers provide the profile information about the job itself, not any particular individual.

Since society desires to profile such a broad spectrum of the economy — occupational profiles and the occupational distribution within the economy — only government is in the unique position to collect, analyze and provide answers for said desire. Yet, no government program or regulatory agency mandates any comprehensive occupational reporting from individuals or businesses. Therefore, government attempts to fill the void with an ongoing, robust and voluntary survey of employers — a survey where employers are asked to provide details about their various occupations; including descriptions, quantities, wages/salaries and location. Through this survey emerges an occupational portrait of an economy.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) structures and funds the survey, yet the individual states conduct the survey. Under BLS administration, all states use the same methodology; therefore, occupational profiles are comparable across states.

Through this survey, analysts discover how industries are populated with various occupations. Accountant is an occupation, yet accountants can be found across many different industries. Other occupations may be more exclusive to certain industries; for example, doctors are largely found only in the healthcare industry. One of the survey’s products is that industries can be profiled with their general mix of occupations. This is called an industry’s occupational staffing pattern.

This brings us back to the original questions: what occupations are in demand, what occupations pay well and have lucrative outlooks, and ultimately, what occupation(s) should I build my career upon? The foundation is to make informed forecasts about how industries will expand/contract over the next 10 years. By applying existing occupational staffing patterns to each industry’s projected change, a trained economic analyst can then make an extrapolation about how occupations will correspondingly increase/decrease. Knowledgeable analyst judgment further refines the occupational expectations, such as knowing an occupation will grow faster than in the past, with the result being a set of occupational projections that accumulate to profile a state or regional economy.

A new set of occupational projections are done every two years to keep the information fresh even though economies do not change dramatically in short order. Because of slow change, updated occupational projects generally continue the overall message of preceding occupational projections. But economies do modify with time, and therefore, subtle changes will arise with each new set of occupational projections.

Utah’s most recent occupational projections are found here: http://www.jobs.utah.gov/wi/pubs/outlooks/state/index.html. These projections look forward to the year 2024.

The occupational profile is structured from the general to the detailed, mimicking the structure of a family tree. First, broad occupational categories are defined, such as management or healthcare occupations; then, subcategories are defined; and finally, individual occupations are defined. Individual occupations are the heart of the occupational projections. But overall patterns and characteristics do emerge when observing the broader categories.

While a Utah statewide profile leads the way, Utah’s local economies are not homogenous; therefore, nine Utah subregions are also profiled. Due to confidentiality restraints and statistical reliability, the amount of occupations available will diminish the smaller a subregion; but, occupations comprising the backbone of a regional economy will be available.

Eastern Region Highlights

Scott Smith, Regional Economist

The Eastern Region labor market is dominated by resource extraction industries. Roughly 15 percent of all 2014 jobs (the base year for the projections) are counted in the mining sector. A further 4 percent are involved in the short haul trucking industry — businesses that are almost exclusively hauling coal, oil and gas-related products. Alternately, a little more than half the jobs in the Eastern Region are located in the oil-rich Uintah Basin. Employment in Uintah and Duchesne counties is highly dependent on the price of oil and subject to the volatility of the commodity cycle. It is an understatement to note that the oil and gas industry is currently in a slump. In addition, Carbon and Emery counties both have a relatively large number of active coal mines, an industry facing its own challenges.

Given these headwinds, Eastern Region employment is projected to grow by only 0.8 percent annually through 2024. Total oil and gas employment is projected to grow at 0.1 percent annually. Coal mining employment is expected to decline by 1.3 percent annually. Construction, which is currently 6 percent of the total jobs, is naturally expected to follow this trend and is projected to increase by only 0.3 percent annually.

Table 1 shows the top six sectors in terms of new jobs. These 2,546 jobs comprise a little more than 60 percent of the projected Eastern Region total.



 With the exception of Junior Colleges and Restaurants and Eating Places, growth is expected to be sluggish.

Occupations related to the restaurant industry are expected to add the greatest number of net new jobs. Combined food preparation/serving workers and waiters/waitresses are expected to add more than 13 percent of net new jobs over the forecast horizon. The entry level salary for these jobs range from $16,888 to $17,010.
While cashiers are expected to add a substantial number of jobs annually, the total number of jobs is expected to shrink over the forecast horizon. The high number of annual openings is entirely a function of turnover. Entry level cashier jobs in the Eastern Region pay $17,220.

Heavy truck drivers are expected to add almost 5 percent of net new jobs. These jobs pay $39,400 to start and require some post-secondary education.

For occupations requiring at least a bachelor’s degree, the teaching occupations generate the largest number of net new positions. These jobs are projected to comprise 10 percent of all net new jobs. The vast number of these jobs are involved in primary or secondary education and start around the mid-$30,000.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Veterans in Uintah County

https://public.tableau.com/profile/publish/NewVizforvets/StoryforVeterans#!/publish-confirm

The Department of Workforce Services has just published an interactive graphic on Utah veterans. Based on 2015 Census Bureau data, it allows researchers (and the simply curious) to “drill down” to veteran profiles at the county level.

The department pays special attention to veterans for a number of reasons. Obviously, the nation is deeply obligated to veterans for their service. Veterans also make up almost 5 percent of Utah’s population and roughly half of veterans are of working age. Veterans have a higher disability proportion than the general public and sometimes have difficulty adapting their military skills to civilian uses. Given the potential for lost productivity, it also makes economic sense for society to concentrate on this population.

As an example of the information available and the potential for insights, this post will focus on Uintah County veterans. The veteran’s visualization profile has five profile segmentations, each represented by a “tab” above the graphs that one can click on.

The first tab is a broad overview of veterans statewide. The first tab is a broad overview of veterans statewide.

The second tab details Uintah County veterans versus Utah veterans as a whole. Uintah County veterans in the 18-34 year-old age group (known as a cohort) are employed and participate in the labor force at a much higher rate than veterans in the state as a whole. It is not clear whether this is a function of disabled veterans flocking to population centers or whether statewide veterans are seeking higher education and therefore unavailable for work.

The third tab shows median income for Uintah County by sex and veteran status. Two observations are especially noteworthy; female veterans earn roughly as much as males and male veterans make significantly less than nonveterans in Uintah County. The first demonstrates that women veterans are full and equal participants in the labor market. This is highly unusual; most counties in Utah have a larger income discrepancy between women and men. Lastly veterans are likely underrepresented in the oil and gas industry. This sector drives Uintah County wages, and the age distribution of Uintah County veterans looks similar or younger than the state’s as a whole. This is inferred by the Veterans by Era of Service tab. Since county wages are driven by the oil and gas industry, lower wages imply lower representation.

Lastly, the fifth tab shows veterans by educational attainment and veteran’s status. It is interesting to note that the Uintah County profile shows that veterans have more bachelor’s degrees than their nonveteran counterparts, but less than Utah veterans statewide.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Veterans in Uintah County

https://public.tableau.com/profile/scott.smith1091#!/vizhome/NewVizforvets/StoryforVeterans

The Department of Workforce Services has just published an interactive graphic on Utah veterans. Based on 2015 Census Bureau data, it allows researchers (and the simply curious) to “drill down” to veteran profiles at the county level. As an example, this post will focus on Uintah County.

The first tab is a broad overview of veterans statewide. The second tab details Uintah County veterans versus Utah veterans as a whole. Uintah County veterans in the 18-34 year-old age group (known as a cohort) are employed and participate in the labor force at a much higher rate than veterans in the state as a whole. It is not clear whether this is a function of disabled veterans flocking to population centers or whether statewide veterans are seeking higher education and therefore unavailable for work.

The third tab shows median income for Uintah County by sex and veteran status. Two observations are especially noteworthy; female veterans earn roughly as much as males and male veterans make significantly less than nonveterans in Uintah County. The first demonstrates that women veterans are full and equal participants in the labor market. This is highly unusual; most counties in Utah have a larger income discrepancy between women and men. Lastly veterans are likely underrepresented in the oil and gas industry. This sector drives Uintah County wages, and the age distribution of Uintah County veterans looks similar or younger than the state’s as a whole. This is inferred by the Veterans by Era of Service tab. Since county wages are driven by the oil and gas industry, lower wages imply lower representation.

Lastly, the fifth tab shows veterans by educational attainment and veteran’s status. It is interesting to note that the Uintah County profile shows that veterans have more bachelor’s degrees than their nonveteran counterparts, but less than Utah veterans statewide.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Age and Employment in the Uintah Basin

People work (and choose not to work) differently depending on where they live and how old they are. Obviously different people also prefer to live in different places. This can be because of employment opportunities, amenities, or even family ties. In like fashion, some industries attract a certain age demographic and are necessarily located in certain places.

The US census bureau tracks data like this and it allows economists to analyze the differences in age groups in different areas and industries.

The graph below shows employment by age in Utah, Duchesne and Uintah Counties (the Uintah Basin) and the Uintah Basin mining sector. For accounting purposes, all extractive industries are shown but the overwhelming majority of these jobs are in oil and gas.


It is obvious that the age make-up of the Uintah basin and the oil and gas industry is different from Utah as a whole. The striking difference is in the 16-24 grouping (known as a cohort); Utah has more workers in this cohort than the basin or the industry. It is likely that the difference between Utah and the basin can be explained by the lack of four year universities in the area. The rather large difference between the state and basin can best be explained by the relative lack of four year institutions in the area (Utah Valley University does have a branch in Vernal). The relative lack of the 16-24 cohort in the oil and gas industry can be explained by the industry’s need for an educated work force; the American Petroleum Institutes’ basic certification program requires 150 hours of class time. In contrast, a bachelors degree requires 360 hours.

Of interest is the difference between the oil and gas industry and basin and state in the 25-44 cohorts. These are over represented in the industry. Older cohorts are accordingly under represented. The speculation here is that these jobs are physically demanding and require workers in the “prime of life”.

Lastly, it stand to reason that if workers in the 25-34 cohort are over represented in oil and gas sector, they must be underrepresented in other industries. Retail trade and Accommodations have strikingly lower counts of workers in this cohort; the proportions being 17 percent and 19 percent, respectively.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Age and Employment in the Uintah Basin 

People work (or choose not to work) , in part, depending on where they live and how old they are. People also prefer to live in different places. Factors such as employment opportunities, amenities, or even family ties dictate to such. In like fashion, some industries attract a certain age demographic and are necessarily located in certain places. The US Census Bureau tracks data that can shed light on some of this variation. It allows economists to analyze the differences in age groups in different areas and industries. The graph below shows employment by age in Utah, the Uintah Basin, (Duchesne and Uintah counties), and the Uintah Basin mining sector. For accounting purposes, all extractive industries are shown but the overwhelming majority of these jobs are in oil and gas. Mining, as an industry, was singled out due to its prominence in the Uintah Basin’s economic foundation.


The age make-up of the oil and gas industry is different from the Utah and Uintah Basin profile. A striking difference is in the 16-24 year age grouping (known as a cohort). Both areas have more workers in this cohort than in the Basin’s mining industry. The relative lack of the 16-24 cohort in the oil and gas industry can be explained by the industry’s need for an educated work force; the American Petroleum Institutes’ basic certification program requires 150 hours of class time. In contrast, a bachelors degree requires 360 hours.

Of interest is the difference between the oil and gas industry and basin and state in the 25-44 cohorts. These ages have a significant presence in this industry. Older cohorts are accordingly less represented. It is speculated that these jobs are physically demanding and are accepted more readily by workers in the “prime of life.” Lastly, it stands to reason that if workers in the 25-34 cohort are heavily represented in the oil and gas industry, they must be less represented in other industries. Retail trade and accommodations have strikingly lower counts of workers in this cohort; the proportions being 17 percent and 19 percent respectively.